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Dawn could tell by the look on the receptionist’s face she hadn’t been expecting them. Well, she was sure the woman was expecting them, but she’d probably been expecting them to look… well, different. Dawn’s mouth twisted into a smile. Not that it really mattered. They were what they were after all.
They’d arrived at the Miami-Dade Police Station ten minutes before and were now waiting for someone to come and show them to wherever it was that they would be working… Dawn was sort of guessing it would be an office, or maybe a part of a lab. Heck, maybe they’d just give them a big old janitor’s closet. She would take anything if it would keep the woman from staring at them any longer. It was really starting to get on the young brunette’s nerves.
“Excuse me; is there something I can help you kids with?”
All four sets of eyes turned together to stare at a tall brunette man who’d approached. He didn’t look very friendly, and seriously, did they really look that young? Cordy didn’t think so. She had a feeling he was just being insulting. “We’re waiting for Lt. Caine,” Cordelia told him in her ‘I’m so much better than you’ voice, and then looked past him to show he’d been dismissed.
“These are the new Liaison Agents Sgt. Stetler,” The receptionist was now watching the man and the IDC agents with interest.
“Really?” the doubt was evident in his tone.
“Yes, really, Rick,” Horatio’s voice came from behind the man. Now everyone’s attention turned to Horatio. “Good to see everyone made it all right. And I see you’ve met IAB Sergeant Rick Stetler. Rick, let me introduce you to the IDC agents that will be working with my team as liaison agents; Dawn Summers, Cordelia Chase, Daniel Osbourne and Amanda West.”
“IAB… isn’t that like Internal Affairs?” Dawn asked.
“Yes, it is,” the other man told her.
“Interesting. I don’t suppose we’ll be seeing that much of you, seeing as we’ll be working so closely with Horatio and his team… and we did pick the cream of the crop to work with.”
He looked like he’d eaten something foul, but didn’t say another word; instead he just turned and walked away.
They all watched, Horatio just shaking his head. “Unfortunately, Rick doesn’t care much for me or my team. He was very interested in why we went to Cleveland, and was very angry when my boss wouldn’t tell him.”
Cordelia raised an eyebrow, “Well, he’s got the same horrible shoes to get glad in again, doesn’t he?”
Horatio smiled. “Come on, I’ll take you to the space we’ve set aside for you.” The group followed him down several hallways until they finally reached a room with glass walls and glass sliding doors. One half of the room held equipment in it, but the other side held several tables and three computers. “Hopefully this gives you enough room. If you need more let me know. If you need to run any tests we can accommodate you for those as well. The only other technicians that use this room are Ryan and Eric, Calleigh mainly deals with Ballistics, however she does have access to this room as well. There’s a security code you have to punch in to get into the room, and you’ll each have your own code that way there’s a record of who’s entering when.”
“Thank you, Lt. Caine, this is wonderful. Much more than we ever expected,” Dawn told the older man with a smile. “There should be some boxes arriving within the next day or so.”
“If you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask. Currently Eric and Ryan are pulling cold cases for you while we’re waiting for any calls. Are you all getting moved in all right?”
“Oh yes, we’ve rented some houses along the beach through the IDC. They give us enough privacy for training and what not,” Dawn assured him.
“Well, if you need any help with that, any one here would help you with that as well.”
“We appreciate it. Tonight we’re actually planning on going to dinner and then going clubbing,” Amanda shared.
He looked at her oddly.
Dawn grinned. “You’d be surprised how many vamps you can find when clubbing. Then a quick patrol.”
By the time Mac made it to the floor he’d run into several workers pushing handcarts loaded with boxes. He frowned as he realized they were all headed to the same place he was. Not exactly the same place, seeing as he was heading for his office, and they were heading for one of the labs, but same area so he figured it counted.
“What the Hell is going on?” he murmured to himself as two more people with handcarts pushed past him heading towards the lab. Scowling, he followed the two, and found himself entering chaos. “What the Hell is going on?” he almost shouted so he could be heard.
Everyone looked over at the door. Suddenly a redhead popped up from behind one of the lab tables. “Oh! Detective Taylor! Hi! I didn’t know what time you got in, so when I got here this morning I just asked them to show me where I was supposed to be setting up and they brought me up here and so here I am, I mean here we are, and so I just decided they could deliver everything up here, and I could get it all set up so that we would be ready to go when everyone else finally got here,” the redhead blinked and took a breath.
“What time did you get here, Ms. Rosenburg?”
“Five… I think… I couldn’t sleep, I was way too excited, and then I had a Mocha… and I really don’t do coffee most of the time, well, not that I don’t like it but my friends seem to think it makes me a bit excitable, so I tend to stay away from it because then I can’t sleep. But I woke up this morning and just knew I wouldn’t be going back to sleep so I thought, hey why not, so I grabbed a Mocha, and headed in and there was this nice lady at reception and she helped me get up here and here I’ve been. And then all these nice officers have been bringing all my stuff up.” Willow gave all of the officers a brilliant smile. One of the officers, a younger, single man ran into the door as he smiled back at the girl. “Are you okay?” Willow asked the man with wide eyes.
“He’s fine!” Mac turned narrowed eyes on the young officer, who gulped and hurried away.
“I’m sure the others will be in soon… But Connor tends to sleep in a bit” She walked over to Mac and leaned in close to him to whisper, “He says it’s because his parents are both vampires, so he’s more nocturnal.” She rolled her eyes. “Isn’t that lame? I mean, seriously, I had to balance high school with patrolling every night for three years, then college… and he can’t wake up and be somewhere by eight?”
“Please, call me Willow.”
“Willow, what is all this?”
Willow looked at all of the boxes he was motioning to. She shrugged. “Books, supplies, components, computer stuff, my witchy stuff.”
He was looking around as well. “There are a lot of boxes.”
She looked at him carefully. “Witchcraft isn’t just point and zap, Detective Taylor. I mean, some of it is, sure. And these days I can do a lot on my own, but, there’s still a lot to be said for ritual.”
The doors slid open to reveal Rona entering hold a steaming cup of coffee. “I’m here. Gunn and Connor stopped off to talk to that Messer guy, but should be here shortly.”
“You got Connor out of bed?” Willow looked a bit surprised.
Rona grinned. “Yep, he wasn’t happy about it, but his ass is up. Damn, girl, looks like you been busy.”
Willow nodded from beside Mac. “Oh yeah, we’ve been getting everything brought in for the past two and a half hours now. There’s a lot to unpack, and get put away. I don’t really know where I want everything put yet but I figure I can get it all sorted out relatively quickly…”
Rona held up a hand cutting off Willow’s babble. The slayer looked at Mac. “Did she have coffee?”
“She said something about a Mocha,” he offered.
The girl winced, “Damn, Willow, no coffee! You know you ain’t supposed to touch that stuff unless it’s world endage time and we’re in research mode. Moving and unpacking does not count.” Willow sniffed and moved away to pout while going through a box. Rona just shook her head. “Now she’s gonna be like this all day long. All we can do is hope the girl didn’t overdo it on sugar… thank the goddess Xander ain’t here.”
Connor was stretching as he entered the lab. “This place is the coolest.”
“Where’s Gunn?” Willow asked from across the room.
“He’s flirting with that curly haired lady… Stella something?” Connor grinned.
Mac started smiling. “Really?” This intrigued him. He could see for himself that Stella was a beautiful woman, but they’d been friends and partners for so long he’d never considered her in a romantic light. He wondered what she thought of the younger man coming on to her.
“Oh yeah, she was looking at him like he’d grown a second head… don’t know why… she’s Hot!”
“Stella inspires both respect and fear in most of the men around here… there really aren’t that many that are brave enough to flirt with her,” Mac shared.
Connor snorted. “Yeah, well, Gunn grew up in LA, and fought vamps for years… then he was a lawyer for an evil law firm, and fought against the inner circle of Hell… He’ll respect her, but fear? She’s not gonna be the scariest thing he’s ever come across.”
Gil had just entered the labs when Ecklie’s yell brought him to a halt. He stifled his sigh and turned smoothly to look towards the grimacing man. “Conrad?”
Conrad strode to the entomologist quickly and whispered harshly, “Who the Hell are those people, and why are they in my labs?”
Gil instantly surmised that the IDC had moved in, and Conrad was not pleased with being left out of the proverbial loop. He remembered a similar outburst several weeks back when his team had gone to Cleveland and Ecklie had been left behind. “I gather you’re speaking of the IDC agents? They’ve arrived?”
“Yes they’ve arrived. Catherine is in with them now. They barely spoke to me, besides some polite chit chat, and then they just passed by taking over a part of my labs, and no one will tell me a thing!” the other man hissed. “Then the young blonde man said something that obviously the little brunette girl didn’t like and she started practically yelling at him in Spanish… I’m assuming it’s Spanish… in the labs.”
“Thanks for letting me know, Conrad,” Gil said politely and changed directions. “I should go say hello.” He almost smiled as he heard a half choke behind him.
“Are you going to tell me why they’re here?” Ecklie called out.
Gil turned for a moment. “Conrad, I’m sure if you were supposed to know, someone would have already told you.” By the time he got to the labs, he saw Catherine sitting talking to Violet and Rupert Giles. Nick and Greg were also in the room, but they were watching as the petite Hispanic Slayer, Maria, chewed out Andrew.
She spoke rapidly, and poor Andrew looked pale as he took the verbal beating.
“Should I ask what he did?” Gil asked Nick and Greg.
“He asked for a stepladder for the two girls, and then made a few other comments about height issues,” Nick shared, his eyes still caught by the verbal annihilation.
“Obviously Maria took issue with that.”
Greg grinned. “Oh, she definitely took issue. So did Vi. I guess Andrew makes those types of comments all the time. As soon as the words were out of his mouth Vi looked at Maria and said she’d leave it to Maria.”
They were broken from their conversations by the ending of the argument. “And if you ever make a comment like that again you will be in a world of hurt, comprende?” Maria finished in her accented English.
“Yes, yes, I’m sorry, I’ll never do it again,” he promised.
Vi snorted. “Sure you won’t. Andrew, you’ve been making stupid comments since I met you.”
“Oh I’m afraid it’s been before that, Violet,” Giles added.
Andrew pouted. “I don’t know why you guys are being so mean.”
Gil smiled at the group. “Welcome to Las Vegas.”